Countries are looking for fossil fuel alternatives that can get somewhere near the density of gasoline but with less impact on the global ecosystem. Among the most promising contenders for mainstream alternative energy production, especially on alternative science media sites like Science 2.0, is hydrogen – but that increasingly appears to be an unlikely candidate.
Low energy conversion efficiency weakens the case for hydrogen as a commercial fuel. Hydrogen requires one-too-many conversions to be as efficient as electricity (water to hydrogen to electricity), as opposed to a simple fuel to electricity conversion.
As battery technologies improve in quality and decrease in price, the viability of hydrogen as an energy carrier falls further. It would be both easier and cheaper to store energy as electricity in a battery than hydrogen in a compressed tank.
"The process to extract hydrogen from water – electrolysis – is a net-loss equation that consumes more energy than the hydrogen it extracts can generate," said Frost&Sullivan Energy & Environmental Research Analyst Pramod Dibble. "It is very difficult to store hydrogen, as it leaks out from almost any containment vessel. Although compressed hydrogen leaks much less than at atmospheric pressure, the act of compression requires about 2 percent of the usable energy in the hydrogen, which is already less by volume than fossil fuel sources.
"All these reasons together constrain the use of hydrogen to niche applications such as a liquid in rocket fuel. Unless there is a dramatic scientific breakthrough, hydrogen will remain an ill-suited alternative energy source in the 21st century."
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- "Not to worry. This happens all the time. It is difficult to pick the right person to respond to..."
- "I'm arrogant? Oh, my sides!So, you think that because there are a whole bunch of diseases that..."
- "I am not an attorney, nor have I ever worked in the Justice Department, so I don't run around threatening..."
- "I'm a bit worried there's some confusion about who I found funny - it was the commenter with the..."
- "When 'western medicine' can cure cancer, your arrogant tone won't grate so much. But it can't...."
- FDA-Approved Test for Meningitis is a Home Run
- Trends In Smoking – Chinese Men In Peril, American Women Get Better Cessation
- Counter-Point: Activists Operate By Outrage, Not Fear
- Whole Foods Recalls Organic Roquefort Cheeses After Listeria Found
- Suicide Tries Linked to Weight-Loss Surgery? Study Doesn’t Show
- Following Rules, Refreezing Thawed Meat is Safe
- Beetles provide clues about the genetic foundations of parenthood
- Trees to power: McMaster engineers build better energy storage device
- High dose chemo & stem cell transplantation results in long-term survival for amyloid patients
- 'Blind analysis' could reduce bias in social sciences papers
- Adoption of streamlined breast cancer treatment has stagnated, study finds